June 16 2019

E-Rate Discount Program

What is the E-Rate Discount Program?

The Schools and Libraries E-Rate discount Program provides discounts to assist eligible schools and libraries to obtain affordable internet access and telecommunications services. The E-rate Program supports connectivity, which is the conduit or pipeline for communications using telecommunications services or the internet.

E-rate funds the following service types: Data Transmission Services and/or Internet Access, Internal Connections, Managed Internal Broadband Services, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Discounts range from 20-90 percent of the costs of eligible services, depending on the school’s National School Lunch Program statistics and the urban/rural status at the school district level. Eligible schools, school districts, and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium.

E-rate Category 1 Services:

Data Transmission Services and/or Internet Access

This service type covers broadband connectivity and basic conduit access to the internet. These services cannot include charges for content, end-user devices or equipment purchases (other than those necessary for the transmission of Category One services), or other services beyond basic conduit access to the internet. This service type also includes leased lit fiber, leased dark fiber, and self-provisioned broadband networks.

E-rate Category 2 Services

Internal Connections and Managed Internal Broadband Services (MIBS)

These two service types include eligible products, such as access points, routers, switches, hubs, and wiring.  Eligible products are located at the applicant site and must be necessary to transport information to classrooms or publicly accessible areas of a library.

Services provided by a third party for the operation, management, and monitoring of eligible broadband internal connections components are eligible MIBS (e.g., managed Wi-Fi). Program support is limited to eligible expenses or portions of expenses that directly support and are necessary for the broadband connectivity within schools and libraries.

Applicants may lease equipment as a part of an internal connections request or a MIBS request.

Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections (BMIC)

BMIC covers the repair and upkeep of eligible internal connections. Eligible repair and upkeep services include hardware, wiring, and cable maintenance, along with basic technical support and configuration changes. The products must be eligible for discounts in order for their associated repair and upkeep services to be eligible.

In general, applicants may only receive support for actual work performed under a contract on eligible products and parts that are repaired or replaced. Unbundled warranties or fixed price contracts are not eligible for reimbursement unless the ineligible portions of the warranty or contract can be cost-allocated.

Services such as software upgrades and patches, (including bug fixes and security patches), and online and telephone-based technical assistance and tools that are typically standard fixed priced offerings will continue to be funded as BMIC if the service or equipment would only function and serve its intended purpose with the degree of reliability ordinarily provided with these specific services.

View the full list of eligible services here.